5 Reasons Networking Fails: Reason 5
Problem: People Fail to Take Action.
Five months ago, I thought I found the ultimate networking group. These people paid money to be in the group. They made a commitment to meet twice per month, I think. They were getting together with three other groups associated with the same platform. And I was invited to take someone’s place at the meeting.
I came prepared with business cards. I gave out about a dozen. I came ready to contribute. People said that they wanted to meet commercial bankers, contractors, and other professionals. When I stood up, I pointed to the people who made the requests. I told them that I had a specific person in mind that matched their request.
After the meeting, I followed up and made sure each person had my card, so that they could call for the name and contact information for the people they said they wanted to add to their network.
And then I waited for the phone to ring.
It never did. Five months later, no one in that group of 200 has called me, even though the only thing I offered was to fulfill the specific requests that individuals had made. As far as I know, I was the only person in that room that had offered to fill some of the requests.
This is not an isolated incident. I participate in networking event after networking event with similar results. Very few people actually follow up on the business cards they receive.
In general, psychologically, it is genuinely difficult for people to break their current work patterns. In other words, if you don’t have a current practice of calling people that you recently met, then when you join a networking group you are going to continue to be one of those people that doesn’t follow up with the people you meet.
Solution: Harness What I Call "Drive."
Some people seem to have the Drive to do things.
When I was in college, I equated Drive with good leadership. There were plenty of groups on campus which did nothing. They had weak leadership. When a group had a strong leader, that leader mobilized the group.
When I spoke with groups about leadership, I told them that to be successful, they needed to learn to be self-starters. If they waited from someone else to lead, they might be waiting a long time. But because so many groups needed leadership, everyone could become a leader if they took the initiative.
Ever since college, I have studied where that Drive comes from in good leaders.
I watched football coach Bill Parcells yell at his players to motivate them. If you look at his record as a successful coach, you know he has Drive.
I have listened to Tony Robbins talk about passion and change. He certainly has Drive.
But I have also watched sales teams get hyped up to achieve their goals, then go out and fail. Before long, it is apparent that they don’t have Drive. You can’t expect to develop sustained performance merely by mimicking the passion of others, because sustaining that level of passion requires a lot of energy. Sustaining passion and motivation requires Drive.
So what is Drive?
Example of someone without Drive: Are you going to attend networking events and take business cards from other people? Why? Are these really people with whom you want to associate? If you don’t give a hoot about the people you meet, then why would you call them back? You don’t have the Drive to be a networking leader.
Example of someone with Drive: I am looking for people with whom I can form lasting relationships. Yes, it may stretch my comfort level to call them a few days later. Yes, it may take some effort to plan some way for us to do business together. But I know that the only way to develop relationships is to make the commitment to follow up with people. I am going to do it, because building relationships is important to me.
People with Drive identify a value, and then they commit to act consistently with that value, even if it is difficult.
We are the product of our actions. We can influence our own actions with our thoughts and our feelings, but we are only the product of our thoughts to the degree that our thoughts translate into action. If you are religious, you might equate Drive with Faith.
It will take me more than a blog post to teach you how to develop Drive. That is the reason I am creating the I Know Network. Stay in touch. There is a lot more to come.Read the rest of this series: Reason 1 | Reason 2 | Reason 3 | Reason 4 | Reason 5